Construction of the Oratory of the Beata Vergine del Sudore in Castel del Rio began in 1684 where the old church of Sant'Ambrogio stood, also thanks to donations from the inhabitants of Castel del Rio.
It was restored in 1915, and 10 years later the current façade was added, with the stele placed in memory of those who fell during the Great War.
Inside there is a copy of the image of the Blessed Virgin. The cult of the Beata Vergine del Sudore is of ancient origin and initially spread to Ravenna, probably in the 13th century.
Popular tradition has it that a soldier, who came out of a tavern drunk, struck the sacred image - on display in a street of the city at that time - with a knife. Suddenly, she began to 'sweat' blood.
On 15th June, 1675, Pietro Menghi from Ravenna donated a copy of the image of the Virgin to Pietro Monti of Castel del Rio
Devotion to this Blessed Virgin spread rapidly among the people and there was soon the need to build a special oratory. On 5th August every year since the 17th century, a village festival has been held in honour of the Madonna del Sudore.
Castel del Rio built a legend around the donation of the image of the Blessed Virgin. It tells of a summer day in 1675 when a farmer hoeing in a small field found an icon of the Madonna.
The hoe involuntarily hit the image and the Madonna's right cheek began to bleed.
It was 5th August and an abundant snowfall covered the field in which it was discovered. The news spread so quickly that 100 foot soldiers came from Ravenna to fetch the icon and take it to the Cathedral.
In the Baroque style interior, a magnificent altarpiece in gilded wood houses the image of the Madonna, that of the legend dated around the end of the 17th century which is superimposed on the altar.
The simple exterior is characterised by a plastered gabled façade and harmonious rose window. On the back, a bell gable houses two 15th century bells, formerly belonging to the previous Church of Sant'Ambrogio, rebuilt in 1555 on the current Piazza Repubblica, where it still stands today.
The oratory features many stunning details, such as the lunette on the entrance portal and stucco oval representing the Holy Spirit in the centre of the choir.
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